Been a while since I’ve blogged on this site so here we go after nearly a two month break.
After a weary two games at home, where we really should have had six points but came away with two, Hibs made the short journey to the Energy Assets Arena to take on Livingston.
Hibs starting line up had no Liam Fontaine and no Jordon Forster and looked like this; Oxley, Gray, Hanlon, Booth, Stevenson, McGeouch, Robertson, S. Allan, Handling, Malonga, Cummings.
Liam Craig dropped to the bench for this match as did Mathew Kennedy, joining Paul Heffernan, Lewis Allan, Alex Harris, Sam Stanton and Kleton Perntreou.
Hibs played solidly throughout and it was hard to pick up any major issues in the first half an hour other than the finishing still seemed to be a problem. Malonga had a chance in the opening few minutes but his shot was weak and Livi’s Darren Jamieson took it easily.
Over recent weeks, Malonga hasn’t been the player we all hoped he would be. Something has been missing, perhaps confidence. Although, Stubbs has shown confidence in him playing him every match. Still, after half an hour, a fumble by Jamieson gave Malonga a chance and he netted putting Hibs ahead by one goal.
Just before the break Hibs could have made it two but for the post getting in the way. Jason Cummings slid the ball to Scott Allan who nipped through and struck a powerful shot, only to be denied by the woodwork.
Half time saw Hibs head into the dressing room one nil up. Nervy times.
It nearly was 1-1 after the restart. A Kyle Jacobs header was dealt with by Oxley and then a goal-line clearance by a well placed David Gray. Heart in the mouth time but Hibs came out of it safely.
However, apart from that slight wobble, Hibs remained safely in control. In the 53rd minute, Danny Handling wrong-footed the Livingston ‘keeper and slid the ball into the corner of the net.
Although Hibs fans never take a 2-0 lead for granted it was hard to see how Livi would come back from that. While Hibs had been dominant in the first half, that paled to how they looked in the second half. Some mistakes yes, but playing well. One word could also describe them: solid.
Hibs put themselves further out of reach when Jason Cummings was brought down in the box by Livi’s Craig Sives. Referee Greg Aitken pointed to the spot. Following some “discussion” about who would take the penalty, Dylan McGeouch eventually placed the ball on the spot and scored Hibs third goal in the 69th minute.
Never sitting back, Hibs continued to press on, keen to keep a clean sheet. At 73 minutes Malonga and Handling were replaced by Harris and Stanton, fresh legs and always the promise of another goal.
Despite every effort possible, Jason Cummings couldn’t find the net. A terrific save from Darren Jamieson denied him shortly before he was subbed in the 83rd minute by Paul Heffernan who decided to add to the goal tally three minutes later taking advantage of a ball from Lewis Stevenson.
Final score: Livingston 0 Hibernian 4
Watch Alan Stubbs post match interview with Hibs TV here.
A cracking result means that Hibs are currently on a five game unbeaten run (yes, you DID read that right) and we’re now sitting fourth in the league.
Still, it’s not Hibs if there’s not something negative going on. It seems that this is our luck. News filtered through that it looks like Jordon Forster could be out for anything up to 8 weeks with a fractured foot. Liam Fontaine out at the moment, but hoping for a quicker return. Then the news from Hull City that their first (Allan McGregor) and second choice (Steve Harper) ‘keepers are now injured and Steve Bruce hints at recalling Mark Oxley to back up third choice ‘keeper Eldin Jakupovic. Not an ideal situation the week before a derby at home but these are the risks when signing players on loan.
Hibs, as a whole, can take away a lot from yesterdays game. The score, the league position and the face that without Jordon Forster and Liam Fontaine we still didn’t concede a goal. We’ve definitely tightened up the back and it looks like we’re starting to remember how to score goals as well. After trudging through two home draws yesterday was definitely a boost in many ways and we’ll take that confidence into next Sunday’s derby at Easter Road.
Off field it’s been a spicy time for Hibernian with Leeann Dempster making a rather large statement about negativity from fans. This has been subject to many lengthy discussions on line and was followed by a rumour that Leeann Dempster was going to resign from the club following the abuse she has been receiving. Yes, she has been receiving abuse, no she’s not resigning and it was, as suspected a rumour and nothing more.
Yes, we should have taken care of Dumbarton and Raith Rovers at home. Easter Road should be a ground that teams fear visiting, we shouldn’t be trudging through dull draws at home. This is a team in transition though. As hard as it is to sit in Easter Road and watch Hibernian not win against Dumbarton and Raith, it’s something that has to be done. It’s frustrating, it’s quite ridiculous as well when you think we recently beat Rangers at Ibrox, Ross County (cup) in Dingwall and Livingston through there. All away games. The confidence shines through on the road and disappears at home. It will come. And hopefully this weekend coming!
Both on and off the pitch changes are happening. My concern is mostly what is happening on the pitch and yes, there are days when I get incredibly frustrated, days when I wonder why I bothered making the journey to Easter Road. Days when I consider not going to the next match or not watching it on TV, but at the end of it all, I’ll concede, grumpily sometimes, and I know I’ll be there because it’s Hibernian and they are right at my core.
Then they give us something back, beating Rangers in the league with a pretty good performance and then making us love them all over again by demolishing Livingston yesterday. Ten games in and yesterdays match is definitely my match of the season (so far), not just because of the score, but because there was a team out there I was happy to call Hibernian.